What Do the Lights Mean? Decoding Your Dashboard

Posted By: Main Auto Body, Inc. | August 30, 2019

Car Dashboard With Warning Lights

Imagine this – you’re cruising along a scenic road and enjoying your music or favorite podcast. But all of a sudden, your dashboard lights up with a warning signal (or several) to inform you of an issue with your vehicle. Obviously concerned, your mind starts to race. Is something wrong with your engine? Is it time to pull over?

We’ve all been there, and that’s why it’s so important to be able to recognize car dashboard warning lights and know what they mean. Here’s a breakdown of what our customers at Main Auto Body, Inc. encounter.

Types of Warning Lights

Before we dive too deep into the meanings behind the most common car dashboard warning lights, it’s helpful to know that there are three main categories these signals fall under. These include:

  • Warning symbols that demand immediate attention
  • Safety symbols that warn about hazardous road conditions and more
  • Lighting symbols that indicate issues with your lights

Warning Lights

These car dashboard warning lights will be red and indicate when a serious problem is occurring in your vehicle. In these situations, it’s generally advised to pull over or park in a safe place and allow the professionals to handle the situation. If you notice any of the following warning lights, Main Auto Body, Inc. can tow your vehicle with our 24/7 emergency roadside assistance:

  • Engine temperature: Indicates your engine has overheated
  • Oil pressure: Signals that the oil level and pressure have become inadequate
  • Brake warning: Turns on continuously for issues in the brake system or master cylinder
  • Battery charge: Means there’s a problem with the battery or alternator’s power supply

Safety Lights

The majority of safety dashboard warning lights illuminate in yellow, but some can be red, orange, and green. These signals indicate that your vehicle has a component that will soon need replacement, repairs, or general maintenance. When these lights turn on, don’t panic – bring your car into Main Auto Body, Inc. as soon as you can, and we’ll take care of the rest. Safety lights can include:

  • Tire pressure: Notes that one or more of your tires need more air
  • Gas/fuel cap: Turns on when your gas tank’s fuel cap is not secure
  • Reduced power: Warns that the engine’s computer is limiting power usage
  • Traction control: Shows whether the traction control system is on or off
  • Transmission temperature: Indicates that the engine’s temperature is too high
  • Oil change reminder: Alerts you when an oil change is needed
  • Powertrain fault: Signals a malfunction with the powertrain or all-wheel-drive

Lighting Signals

These signals may seem like nothing to worry about, but it’s essential to have full knowledge of what is going on with your vehicle – including its lights. This is because there are several driving laws pertaining to when you can and cannot use your high beams for safety reasons, as well as the requirement to keep your lights on while using your windshield wipers and at certain times of day.

Get Those Warning Lights Checked Out

If you’ve recently experienced a collision and your warning lights come on ever after repair, it’s best to know what might be wrong. To learn more, contact Main Auto Body, Inc. With nine locations in the Willamette Valley and Bend, OR, help from our I-CAR Gold certified technicians is never far away.

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